There's a scenario that I've been toying with for some time that could make sense for the Jacksonville Jaguars: What if the Lions are so desperate to add hometown hero Aidan Hutchinson in the draft that they're willing to trade up to number one?
That idea may have legs. NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler of The Athletic talked about it on his podcast earlier this week.
"There's even chatter out there just talking to people around the league about the Lions looking at what it would cost to move up to number one to get Aidan Hutchinson."
With so many draft experts projecting Jacksonville to take Aidan Hutchinson with the top pick, I decided to play out what the draft might look like if the Jags and Lions strike a deal, swapping the first and second overall pick with Detroit also adding in picks 32 and 66.
I used The Draft Network's Mock Draft Machine.
Let's take a look!
#2 OVR - EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Thibodeaux was widely considered the top overall EDGE prospect in this class for much of the 2021 college football season. And in my book, he should be the top pass rusher taken on draft night. With Jacksonville investing heavily in their offensive line with Cam Robinson and Brandon Scherff and ignoring pass rush during free agency, it feels like the Jaguars will take the best edge rusher available with their first pick. Thibodeaux needs to develop into a more disciplined player, but he has all the makings of an All-Pro edge rusher. From a skill set, athleticism, and production standpoint, Thibodeaux stands out in a crowded EDGE class.
#32 OVR - WR George Pickens, Georgia
Had Pickens not torn his ACL last spring, he'd be among the top wideouts taken in the 2022 NFL Draft. He has the size, athleticism, speed, and alpha mentality to dominate at the NFL level. Running a 4.47 40 less than a year after ACL surgery was impressive, to say the least. The Jaguars are in desperate need of a difference-making outside receiver, and Pickens is just the man for the job.
#33 OVR - S Lewis Cine, Georgia
Another Bulldog? It's going to be a theme for the Jaguars in this draft. And why shouldn't it be? The 2021 Georgia Bulldogs were among the most talented football teams to ever take the gridiron. Cine is a 6'2", 199-pound heat-seeking missile. He plays with good instincts and can align in a wide variety of spots for a defense. Pairing him Andre Cisco at safety gives the Jaguars an incredibly talented and athletic duo for the foreseeable future.
#65 OVR - TE Trey McBride, Colorado State
The Jaguars have a diverse and talented group of tight ends for the 2022 season. But Evan Engram, Dan Arnold, and Chris Manhertz are all set to be free agents after the season. Trey McBride compares favorably to former Eagles' star Zach Ertz — who thrived under Doug Pederson — as an athlete but brings more versatility to the table. He's a polished receiver and blocker who can align in multiple spots around the formation.
#66 OVR - LB Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
The Jaguars need difference-makers on defense, and after releasing Myles Jack, they could use another talented linebacker to play next to Foye Oluokun. Chenal is an inside linebacker prospect and force against the run who also excels as a blitzer. He showed off elite speed and explosiveness at the NFL Combine but lacks lateral agility.
#70 OVR - OL Jamaree Salyer, Georgia
Yes, another Georgia Bulldog. Salyer primarily played left tackle in college but also took reps on the interior, which is where he projects at the next level. The Jaguars could use another talented guard to compete for the starting gig on the left side. Salyer fits the bill and can get you through a game at tackle in a pinch.
#81 OVR - RB James Cook, Georgia
TRADED #106, #157, #180, and #188 to NYG for #81, #112
ANOTHER ONE! The Jaguars have two talented running backs in their stable, but both James Robinson and Travis Etienne are coming off of significant foot injuries. Cook is a dynamic runner with a three-down skill set. And he has legitimate value as a receiver, both in the slot and outside. Trading up for a running back might be frowned upon, but with so many picks in 2022, the Jaguars can afford to get aggressive for a player who will make Trevor Lawrence's job easier and allow Robinson and Etienne to take time recover.
#112 OVR - CB Marcus Jones, Houston
He's undersized, but that's the only knock on Marcus Jones. He displays athleticism, ball skills, and is a dangerous weapon on special teams, having returned a total of nine kicks/punts for touchdowns in his college career. The Jaguars have three talented cornerbacks on the roster, but adding Jones gives them a developmental slot who will help on special teams.
#197 OVR - iOL Brock Hoffman, Virginia Tech
The future of Jaguars' starting center Brandon Linder is murky, with reports coming out that he's considering retirement. Linder is oft-injured, and his backup, Tyler Shatley, is on the wrong side of thirty. The Jaguars could attempt to add a developmental center on day three of the draft, and Brock Hoffman makes a lot of sense in that role.
#212 OVR - WR Jalen Nailor, Michigan State
Had Nailor not missed so much time with injury throughout his career, he'd be in consideration for day two. As it is, he's still a field-stretching receiver who could help the Jaguars become more explosive on offense.
#222 OVR - K Cade York, LSU
Matthew Wright wasn't terrible for the Jaguars in 2021, but he doesn't scream long-term fixture at kicker, especially with his leg lacking some long-range power. Cade York has plenty of leg and has all the makings of a starter at the next level.
TRADED a 2022 7th to TB for 2 2023 7ths
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